This is my second report card on how I’m doing at meeting my housewife challenges. (Remember I said I was going to hold myself accountable to you every other Sunday.)
I haven’t been too enthusiastic about creating challenges for myself, so there are only two so far:
- Get (and keep) the grocery bill under budget [read original post]
- Keep a clean house [read original post]
But stay tuned, because this week, I’ll be posting two more.
And now, how have I been doing?
Well, not so good. The grocery bill is ridiculously over budget, and we haven’t taken time to figure out if we need to readdress it yet. Of course, with the money I’m making from watching Mr. V, it doesn’t really matter if we’re 10 or 20 or 30 dollars over. So for now we’re letting it be, but I’m sure there will be some adjustment before we next check in.
On keeping a clean house, I get a B-. Last week was fine, but this week…well, there are clean clothes that have been living in the laundry basket for several days, I swept and mopped downstairs, but can’t remember when our bedroom was last vacuumed, and, as I type this, there is a day’s worth of dirty dishes piled in the sink (and all over the counters and on the dining room table). Not to mention the state of my desk, which is my dumping ground. Ugg.
So here’s the thing – as in, it’s time to hear excuses – I’m not exactly only a stay-at-home mother. Sure, I spent some time romping through fields with Pip and Nora.
And I’ll admit to at least one visit to The Juice Bar.
Only the best, most amazingly delicious place on the island.
And I am writing this blog post right now, but that’s not really how I spent all my free time.
In between loving on Nora and all that staying home with her entails, I was working for Bard.
Yes, you read that right. I may not be a full-time employee any more, but I am doing consulting work. And in the last two weeks, the time spent has ramped up immensely. Currently, I am building the Master of Arts in Teaching Program a recruitment database which takes more than an hour here and there. Last week alone, I’ve worked nearly 20 hours during naps and playtime, and late into the night. I’m not complaining – don’t get me wrong – I actually love it, but the housework has suffered.
All the time spent working and suddenly trying to juggle, juggle, juggle again has really reminded me why I’m staying home with Nora. I love the work that I’m doing for Bard; it’s interesting and challenging and I get to talk to grown-ups about mentally stimulating things. But, clearly, the more time spent on work, the less spent on other things which keep our house functioning.
It’s not a disaster, so I’m not really worried about it. It’ll be nice to have the extra money from the work and it’s really nice to be doing something I love in a whole different way, but it’s a good reminder of how important it is for me to be here, at home. Part-time, from home is work I can handle occasionally. But I definitely do not want to go back to the mess that was full-time and traveling while we have little ones at home – it’s just too big of a sacrifice.
I miss you!!!
Rachel Behl Wester
I spent the day budgeting, working some more numbers for when I quit working. We’ll be able to make it just barely off his income, with some money saved up beforehand. But where the communication breaks down is when I say I won’t be “work…ing”… he still seems to think that I mean I won’t be doing any work at all, which is not true. I’ll be subbing, or babysitting, and continuing to work my Ignite business-doing some things part time (probably after the first year) But I don’t know how much of that I’ll realistically be doing, so I’m not factoring it into our “survival” budget. So I have to reassure him that I won’t just be sitting around playing pattycake all day (much as I’d like to.. : ) I think he’s coming around to the idea of me staying at home more and more, because I really think it will be the best thing for BOTH of us. He can be a stress ball and absolutely needs his downtime more than most, and if we’re both working full time, there will be none of that… I’ll expect him to come home and be doing his full 50/50 share at all times, and I’ll be stressed out too. Staying home will allow me to be a much better wife and mother, and to alleviate a lot of stress from his plate as well. So we’ll have to see how much time I’ll be officially working. Thankfully, we have enough family around to cover the daycare aspect. But I believe that stay at home moms/wives have an obligation to put in just as much hard work as their counterparts do at their day job. I want to pull my own weight. So kuddos to your housewife challenges!!
AmberRachel Behl Wester
Yeah, I don’t think husbands/partners really realize at first just how much it will benefit them to have a stay-at-home wife. Now that it’s actually happening, I think Chris has a much better understanding on the fact that we don’t just si…t around and have fun all day. There definitely has been a chore shift; I do most things around the house while he’s at work, so that he doesn’t have to come home and then help with housework. He still does some things, like mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, but that’s about it. It allows him more relaxation after/before work (6 days per week 10-12 hour days!) and it also allows us to spend the time that he’s here having fun as a family instead of doing chores. I think the other thing that helps him to know I’m not having lots of leisure time while he’s slaving away is that when we were still in NY, he used to watch Nora one day a week while I was at work. Having had to regularly do 9.5 hours of childcare all on his own has really helped to put in perspective for him just how much work it is. When you guys have a baby, you should definitely make sure that Mark gets a few daddy days – he’ll appreciate you all the more!
By the way, I highly recommend the babysitting. I’m so glad that I decided to do it. The little boy I watch is so much fun, plus I think it’s probably good practice for me to have to care for a baby and a 3 year old at the same time! 🙂 Also, I like that Nora is getting exposed to other kids and has to share some of my attention. In some ways, it’s better than the work I’m still doing for Bard, because I can do it while I’m with Nora or doing my house work stuff. My consulting work can’t happen at the same time as a lot other stuff, so it’s more of an imposition.
Hey Amber, so glad to hear things are treating you well in Nantucket! I love reading your blog, it’s always so insightful and well written. I can completely relate to your passion for being a stay-at-home mom and feeling like you’ve reached a breaking point while working full time and trying to take care of a family. I’ll soon be joining the stay-at-home mom workforce as my breaking point came just a few weeks ago. Although I’ll still be working full time outside of the home it’ll be at night while Addie is sleeping. Keep up the blogging you have at least one avid reader!
Thanks for the comment, Kim, and thanks for reading! I’m glad to hear you’re going to be able to work your schedule to be home with Addie during the days. The little boy I watch is here at night because both his parents work in the restaurant industry, and I was just talking to his mom about how great it works out for them. They bring him here at 4 and he’s asleep by 8:30, so they really only “miss out” on a few hours – mostly he’s sleeping. I have to say if I ever have to go back to work with little ones, that would be the way I’d do it, if possible.